Jerusalem24 – Nine European countries announced on Tuesday that they want to continue working with the six Palestinian NGOs that were designated “terrorists” by Israel, due to a lack of evidence to back up Israel’s claims.
Spokespersons for the foreign ministries of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden explained in a joint statement that even though Israel designated the six Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist organizations, they have not provided the European countries with any evidence of this.
“Accusations of terrorism or links to terrorist groups must always be treated with the utmost seriousness. The designations needed, therefore, to be assessed carefully and extensively.”
The six Palestinian institutions are Al-Haq Foundation, Addameer Foundation for Prisoner Care and Human Rights, Bisan Center for Research and Development, International Movement for Defense of Children – Palestine, Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and Union of Women’s Committees.
“No substantial information was received from Israel that would justify reviewing our policy towards the six Palestinian NGOs on the basis of the Israeli decision to designate these NGOs as ‘terrorist organizations.’”
“Should evidence be made available to the contrary, we would act accordingly. In the absence of such evidence, we will continue our cooperation and strong support for the civil society” in the West Bank and Gaza, the statement concludes.
“A free and strong civil society is indispensable for promoting democratic values and for the two-state solution.”
In October, the Israeli government announced the addition of six Palestinian non-governmental organizations working in the field of defending human rights and prisoners to its list of “terrorist organizations”, on the grounds that they are allegedly linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
The decision was widely criticized by the official and popular levels of the Palestinian Authority, and by international governments and organizations, including the United Nations.